‘Chipsy’ like a magnet - a mate for life with heart of gold
THE always smiling, ever helpful "Chipsy'' will be long remembered for his multiple talents.
He would answer the call to be a taxi driver, shout a friendly beer and roll up ready to enjoy a social game of golf or cricket.
But it was at the Ipswich Musketeeers Baseball Club where John Edward "Chipsy'' Howells built a reputation as a dependable sportsman and official.
As long-serving club official and team manager Brian Zeidler recalled, Chipsy joined Musketeers in 1968 aged 22.
After a few games, he was elevated to the top side where he mainly played second base and right field.
But in typical fashion, he would play any position the coach asked him.
"At right field, he had a great throwing arm with excellent hands and exceptional speed to run down fly balls and line drives,'' Zeidler said.
"Chipsy didn't hit many home runs but countless triples, doubles and single safe hits which led to many batting trophies over the years.''
The scorer and his wife Janette reflected the light-hearted side of Chipsy's play.
"She would say if he got the ball while sprinting to get the outs and it hit the glove and dropped out, she would put it down as an error,'' Zeidler said.
Janette's reasoning was: "He should have got it''.
In the early 1970s, Chipsy had some fantastic seasons, which put him in contention for a spot in Queensland's Claxton Shield squad.
He only missed out as they selected an All Stars player Jeff Martin, who was then chosen in the Australian team at right field.
Chipsy coached Queensland junior baseball sides, along with Musketeers junior and senior teams. He also coached softball sides.
While at Musketeers' former Spring Street ground, he was awarded a life membership for his many years of service to the club.
"Chipsy did countless jobs for Musketeers and when we moved to the Tivoli complex, he became president after Ken Hogan,'' Zeidler said.
"There were many trying times there, getting people to come to the restaurant and the pokies.
"He was also out there late at night for the break-in and robberies and meeting police at some ungodly hours.''
In 1994, Musketeers entered a side in the World Masters Games. The team was called the Musketeers Expros.
Chipsy was 48 and with all this playing mates, shared in the team's silver medal success.
The winning side was the Crocodiles, coached by Crazy Cantrell and which included Ian Chappell and ex-Australian and Queensland Claxton Shield players.
"When you met Chipsy, it was like being next to a magnet,'' Zeidler said. "You couldn't let go.
"He was your mate for life.''
He also loved his family and friends including Janette, Amanda, David and Sofie and Danielle.
The Hancock Brothers held a minute's silence for Chipsy during weekend matches. Janette is a Hancocks life member and long-time hockey supporter.
Chipsy always had a keen interest in all sport. He played competition tennis and cricket.
"He had a heart of gold. A member of Musketeers Old Boys,'' Zeidler said.
Thanks to Brian and Robyn Zeidler and Ross McDonald for their valuable contributions to the 'Chipsy' tribute.